by Pat Hanavan [535, 1968]
In late September 2006, I was attending the annual reunion of the Air Weather Reconnaissance Association in Dayton, OH where we visited the National Museum of the USAF (NMUSAF) as one of the planned activities. While at the museum, I met with key staff members and learned that the leading constructor of memorials for the museum is Dodd’s Monuments of nearby Xenia, OH. Larry Morrison of Dodd’s met with me at the museum on 30 September to show me the various types of memorials that meet museum standards. I took pictures of the types of memorials and different locations. A black granite bench struck me as visually stunning and an ideal choice. A great location is along the covered walkway adjacent to the main museum entrance. The specific spot for each memorial is decided by the museum at the time it is delivered and only 5 of the 15 spaces along the covered walkway had been used.
Returning to San Antonio, I worked up a design to include the name of our Association, the names of our fallen comrades, views of the Bou, identifiers of our six squadrons in Vietnam, and the years of operation of the aircraft. I submitted the design and a cost proposal to the Board on 8 November and unanimous approval was given on 11 November. Replacement of the plaques at Dyess and Ogden was underway, but there was an urgency to the Dayton project to ensure a good location for our memorial. The black granite was ordered by Dodd’s and we waited anxiously as other benches were installed along the walkway.
Each Board member checked the final design, especially the names of our fallen comrades, to ensure accuracy. Tom McHugh lives near the museum and he diligently tracked the progress once the black granite arrived. The bench was completed and installed on 21 March 2007, thanks to the timely action of the Board and the contractor.
The bench is a fitting memorial to our fallen comrades and is in an ideal spot at the best location in the U. S. where family, comrades in arms, and friends can remember the sacrifice made by the Good Guys of the Air Force C-7A community during the Vietnam War.
|Thanks to Google Maps, here's where the museum is located.|
|Thanks to the tireless efforts of Pat Hanavan, here is the memorial bench that has already been put in place at NMUSAF. It is in a prime location, shown as #47 in the map, below, on the main entrance side of the museum. We will be having our 2008 reunion here to both dedicate the memorial bench and enjoy the rest of the museum.|
|Here is another view showing the end design of the bench.|
|Here is a map that shows the location of the bench.|
|Since the map doesn't really do the location justice, here is a photo showing the museum entrance area and the location of our bench.|